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Alcock and Brown

Old 15th May 2019, 16:40
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Alcock and Brown

Greetings
I am a recently retired Airbus Captain living in St.John's Newfoundland, Canada. No doubt many of you are aware that June 14th is the 100th anniversary of the first non stop transatlantic flight. John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown left from a grass meadow just up the road from my house and arrived in Clifden Ireland roughly 16.5 hours later, thus proving it was possible to do what many of you do on a regular basis.

St.John's and Clifden are planning major celebrations to mark this historic event and I'm wondering if some of you might be interested in letting your passengers know on June 14th.
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Old 15th May 2019, 18:20
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Think there is a very well written article in Flypast magazine this month about Alcock and Brown.
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Old 15th May 2019, 19:26
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.

“Yesterday we were in America…”

.
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Old 15th May 2019, 21:51
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Before anyone gets too excited, you need to buy the magazine to read the whole article.
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Old 15th May 2019, 22:35
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This message would be too short . . . if I hadn't written this:

After his celebrated 1927 journey from New York to Paris, Lindbergh made a courteous nod to his daring predecessors, declaring: “Alcock and Brown showed me the way.”
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Old 16th May 2019, 09:36
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Hi shipiskan

I for one really appreciate the nudge. These events absolutely should be celebrated. Sadly, I’m not flying on the 14th, however I am crossing the Atlantic at least four times next month. I will reflect on their adventure, and mention it to our customers on as many occasions as I reasonably can.

Enjoy the celebrations.
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Old 16th May 2019, 22:36
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This is utterly brilliant. I was very disappointed not to be able to read the rest of that article in fly past. It’s topical
given the efforts of the impressive single engine flights to cross the Atlantic on the private forum. This flight with the kit they had to hand then is somewhat humbling. A sextant !!

I hope I will be forgive for posting this paragraph from my google search. The ‘right stuff’ comes to mind.

At 5.00pm they had to fly through thick fog.[14] This was serious because it prevented Brown from being able to navigate using his sextant.[14]
[15] Blind flying in fog or cloud should only be undertaken with gyroscopic instruments, which they did not have, and Alcock twice lost control of the aircraft and nearly hit the sea after a spiral dive.[14]
[15] Alcock also had to deal with a broken trim control that made the plane become very nose-heavy as fuel was consumed.[15]

At 12:15am Brown got a glimpse of the stars and could use his sextant, and found that they were on course.[14]
[15] Their electric heating suits had failed, making them very cold in the open cockpit.[14]

Then at 3:00am they flew into a large snowstorm.[14] They were drenched by rain, their instruments iced up, and the plane was in danger of icing and becoming unflyable.[14] The carburettors also iced up; it has been said that Brown had to climb out onto the wings to clear the engines, although he made no mention of that.[14]
[15]

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Old 17th May 2019, 10:52
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Tony Alcock

Went to a talk by Tony Alcock last night. John Alcock's nephew and ex RAF. Some interesting tidbits and some insights into the characters of the two men. Brown was shot down twice in WW1. Alcock assembled his own fighter from written off machines!
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Old 17th May 2019, 19:56
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I am always annoyed when people claim that Lindberg was the first to cross the Atlantic, even before this there were the Airship and also the seaplane ones that took 23 days with ships along the route but to me Alcock and Brown was the most significant one!

Last edited by foxmoth; 18th May 2019 at 02:39.
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Old 17th May 2019, 23:27
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All things considered, the Vimy was a mechanical piece of crap. Lindbergh's aircraft was mechanically and aerodynamically superior to the Vimy and Lindbergh also flew a longer distance. I have also concluded that the French Levasseur PL.8, piloted by Nungesser & Coli was inferior to Lindbergh's efficient Ryan NYP high-wing monoplane, which was powered by a single air-cooled Wright radial engine. Simplicity. It works, sometimes.

Note that I am NOT an American citizen, nor do I idolise Charles Lindbergh, even though I have a first edition of his 1927 book "We", and a second edition of his book "North to the Orient", published in 1935. Solving the tragic disappearance of Nungesser & Coli is intriguing. Did they crash somewhere in Maine perhaps?

Last edited by evansb; 17th May 2019 at 23:38.
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Old 18th May 2019, 02:35
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That Lindbergs aircraft was superior is hardly surprising as it was 8 years after Alcock and Brown and specifically designed for the crossing so I think that gives them even more credit - Whilst it is a significant achievment I fail to see the real significance in a Solo flight as far as developing commercial aviation goes - Alcock and Brown carried some mail so actually a commercial flight!
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Old 18th May 2019, 16:09
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Also some nostalgia info on this thread: Daily Mail Trans- Atlantic Air Race 1969

As for the Vimy being a "piece of crap", you can look at that two ways -

1. It did the job
2. If it was a "p of c", then that makes the achievement of A and B even greater
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Old 18th May 2019, 17:30
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Originally Posted by shipiskan View Post
Went to a talk by Tony Alcock last night. John Alcock's nephew and ex RAF. Some interesting tidbits and some insights into the characters of the two men. Brown was shot down twice in WW1. Alcock assembled his own fighter from written off machines!
Was that talk in Canada? Tony "Buzzy" Alcock was OC29 back in F4 days.
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Old 18th May 2019, 17:54
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Alcock was born in Manchester and Brown, although born in Scotland moved to Manchester at an early age so it is quite fitting that there is a statue commemorating their achievement at Manchester airport.
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Old 18th May 2019, 18:32
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"That Lindbergs aircraft was superior is hardly surprising as it was 8 years after Alcock and Brown "
At that time, aircraft improvement was fast.
In 1908, 11 years earlier, one of the Wright Brothers predicted to Congress that an aircraft would fly across the Atlantic by the end of the century, or even by 1950.
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Old 18th May 2019, 19:10
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Just in case it's relevant, the London Airport (LHR) Alcock & Brown statue is now at the Heathrow Academy
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Old 18th May 2019, 19:13
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Back in '69, when I was flying Wessex from Odiham, I had the pleasure of flying formation on the replica, that had been built to celebrate the 50th anniversary. It had diverted to Odiham due wind, and when it departed a lot of press wanted pictures. Sadly, I didn't have my camera! That aircraft was destroyed by fire shortly afterwards at Barton (I think), and was rebuilt as a non-flying replica. It is now dismantled and in good care at the RAF Museum's store in Stafford. Looking at it, one can get an appreciation of the bravery of the crew. It's tiny and fragile.
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Old 18th May 2019, 23:23
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Originally Posted by chrishp22 View Post
Just in case it's relevant, the London Airport (LHR) Alcock & Brown statue is now at the Heathrow Academy
It's actually in Ireland at the moment, where it will remain for the next few weeks.

Clifden festival recalls historic transatlantic flight
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Old 18th May 2019, 23:57
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Originally Posted by evansb View Post
Solving the tragic disappearance of Nungesser & Coli is intriguing. Did they crash somewhere in Maine perhaps?
The fate of L'Oiseau Blanc has always intrigued me. There were some reports of an aircraft flying over Lake Winnipesaukee New Hampshire area at the time - something that would have been very rare. One of Nungesser's relatives spent some time searching in the area as well Washington County in Maine. Have to wonder if they would have made it traveling west to east.
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Old 19th May 2019, 01:24
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Originally Posted by Paying Guest View Post
Was that talk in Canada? Tony "Buzzy" Alcock was OC29 back in F4 days.
Yes in St.John's. He was guest of our committee which is organizing the commemoration.
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